A big thank you to all the folks who contacted and encouraged me to run.

Below is my formal announcement, more posts to follow:

Will Raymond Announces Run for Chapel Hill Town Council 2009

Chapel Hill, NC – July 17th, 2009

I am taking the next step in my eight year continuum of public service to Chapel Hill by announcing my candidacy for Town Council.

After listening to hundreds of my fellow citizens during the Sustainability Task Force’s nine recent public forums, it is clear that Chapel Hill’s residents want to move forward on a different path for the next decade.

Moving Chapel Hill forward will require common sense leadership that is innovative, experienced, tested and prepared to follow our citizens’ mandate to change course.

Successfully working with a variety of community organizations, advisory boards, the Town Council and Orange County Board of Commissioners in the past, I have taken on some of the thorniest, toughest and, occasionally, most controversial issues facing our community.

Listening to the community, gathering the best advice, with conviction and thoughtful fortitude, I have been unwavering in my support of reasonable growth policies, fiscal prudence, environmental protection and transparent government operations.

As my understanding of these challenges deepened, so has my sense of responsibility for making sure our community thrives when meeting them.

The next four years finds Chapel Hill at a crossroads. Addressing these four issues will be vital to our community’s sustainability:

  • Beneficial Growth – I joined the Town’s Sustainability Task force to help build community consensus on measurably healthy growth.

    I know we must adopt balanced development policies that enrich all of our community. These policies must maintain our residents’ quality of life without sacrificing those bedrock principles that have made Chapel Hill shine. As existing projects like Greenbridge and East54 change the complexion of our community, and new projects like Carolina North and University Square come to fruition, we must better honor those values which have made Chapel Hill a sought after community.
  • Fiscal Responsibility – I know we must strengthen our Town’s fiscal foundations so that we can meet not only the unique demands of the current economic downturn but prudently manage existing obligations. We need to implement a broad range of pragmatic policies, many previously suggested by our talented citizenry, to tighten our Town’s belt – to live within our residents’ means – while also seizing new opportunities to expand our pool of jobs and commercial tax base.
  • Environmental and Neighborhood Protection – As a longtime resident, I know many citizens see enhancing and protecting Chapel Hill’s neighborhoods as inextricably linked to nurturing and defending our environment. Our Town’s growth goals, though, must be consistent with our environmental policy, with expected trade-offs clearly understood by our community.
  • Public Participation – I know now is the time to build upon our improved relationship with the University and expand upon the commitment to make public participation central to managing the expansion of UNC onto Carolina North. Carolina North can be a stunning success if the burdens and benefits created are mutually understood and shared. Firming existing relationships, operating in good faith, we can make sure that financial, transit, environmental and social costs are not thrust upon residents’ overtaxed shoulders.

I have lived in the Chapel Hill area for two decades, the last 16 years a stones throw from UNC’s Carolina North. My wife, Ellie Reinhold, is a local artist and founding member of the wonderful Hillsborough Gallery of Arts cooperative. We currently live along Mt. Bolus, one of the older (and quite delightful) neighborhoods close to downtown, with our twelve year-old son Elijah.

Ellie, Elijah and I have deep roots in this community. We chose this exciting, diverse, vibrant, forward – looking community to make our home at a time when a couple of modest means could get their foot in the door.

Professionally, the last 21 years I have been a successful chief information officer of thriving startups, a technical manager in RTP, an independent software developer and an entrepreneur.

Negotiating decades of technology boom and busts, I know growing a sustainable business concern owes as much to building a strong, independent, flexible, respected workforce as to watching dollars and cents. We need that understanding to pervade our Town’s operations.

Over the last 8 years I have served our community in a variety of roles:

  • Technology Committee – The Council adopted recommendations based on non-governmental examples to annually save tens of thousands of dollars. I championed the Wi-Fi/fiber optic network initiatives to serve economic development and to bridge the digital divide. I also worked to integrate cost saving “open software” into our Town’s operations.
  • Horace-Williams Citizen Committee (2006) – Along with former Council members Julie McClintock and Joe Capowski, I drafted the committees’ response to Chancellor Moeser’s proposal. I also suggested a number of environmental guidelines which eventually made their way into 2009′s Carolina North development agreement.
  • Downtown Parking Task Force – Part of revitalizing Downtown is improving access. Along with Council member Jim Ward, local Chamber of Commerce Director Aaron Nelson, representatives of downtown businesses, the University and other concerned citizens, I helped develop a set of measurable, cost effective recommendations for improving Downtown parking – including free parking, courtesy enforcement reminders instead of tickets and better signage.
  • Sustainability Task Force – I worked to expand participation and increase diversity on the task force so that the final recommendations build upon the broadest possible consensus of what Chapel Hill should look like these next 10 years.
  • Friends of Lincoln Arts Center – I helped rescue Chapel Hill’s only hands-on arts program and brought attention to the dearth of affordable, community-based hands-on arts opportunities in Chapel Hill.

Beyond these groups, I participated as an involved citizen in the Town’s Budget Advisory group, Orange County’s transfer site selection process, the County’s decision to create election districts, the University’s Leadership Advisory Committee and other initiatives with direct impact on our community’s well-being.

Through hard work, due diligence and dogged persistence, I have already helped improve Chapel Hill and seen many of my suggestions integrated into the fabric of our Town and County.

As a member of the Town Council, on behalf of our whole community, I will continue to bring my strong work ethic and proven public service commitment to shepherd our Town through some trying but eventually rewarding times in a way that validates and bolsters our Town’s progressive reputation.

As your representative, I pledge to continue to listen to and cultivate all of the diverse viewpoints which are a hallmark of this community, to work diligently on those key issues to ensure our Town’s viability and to make sure that the door opens wide – and stays open – for folks, like Ellie, Elijah and I, who choose to not only live here but grow and prosper here.

Contact:
Will Raymond, Candidate 2009 Chapel Hill Town Council
willraymond.org
209 Mt. Bolus Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919-360-9939
campaign@willraymond.org

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